A recent tweet from Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried landed her in hot water – with critics from both sides of the aisle turning up the heat.
A maskless Fried gestured a peace sign toward her selfie camera in one tweet. Attached to the photo was the caption: “Peace out to the TSA mask mandate, but also peace and respect to others, whether wearing a mask or not.”
Critics slammed Fried for her decision to go maskless, labeling her as “ableist” and “irresponsible,” and saying she should remain on the safe side and mask up on her flight.
Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and a Democratic candidate for 2022 Florida gubernatorial race, arrives for a ceremony with U.S. President Joe Biden.
( Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Others added that the post was enough reason to retract their support for Fried and throw it behind her Pelosi-endorsed Democratic rival Charlie Christ.
Fried doubled down on her decision, however, commenting in the thread and pushing back against the criticism in an act of self-defense that again placed Democrats at the crux of the debate.
“I’ll read all your takes, but the mandates are dropped, vaccines are working, things are getting back to normal, and it’s okay for a Democrat to say it — because we made it possible. I love y’all,” she wrote.
People traveling by plane during COVID 19, wearing N95 face masks, carrying luggage in airport terminal. (iStock)
She also retweeted a message from her communications director Keith Edwards trying to deflect criticism to Crist.
“If you’re cancelling Nikki over her choice to not wear a mask while sitting alone on a plane, why not Charlie for going maskless?” Edwards wrote, accompanying his tweet of pictures of Crist maskless in public settings. “But not just for masks, for being ‘pro-life,’ having been anti-LGBTQ, pro-oil drilling, mandatory prison minimums… do I need to go on?”
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Debates surrounding U.S. district judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s decision to strike down CDC guidance on masking on public transportation ensued on Monday, with some celebrating the reversal and others criticizing the move as “irresponsible” and “unsafe.”